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Mika Hakkinen started out his racing career in the same way as all the great drivers, in karting.  He started karting in 1973 at the age of 5 and won his first race  2 years later.  From the age of 11 Mika won championship after championship, as detailed in the table below.

His move into single seater racing was equally successful, he held three Formula Ford 1600 championship titles at the end of his first season, in 1987.

After a move into British Formula 3 in 1989, Hakkinen won the championship in just his second season, with West Surrey Racing.

Formula 1
The US Grand Prix of 1991, in Pheonix, Arizona was Mika's debut in the world's top racing series.  He retired from this race with engine failure, after spinning several times.  His team was the now departed Lotus-Judd.

His move to McLaren was in 1993, when they were using Ford power.  He was employed as a test driver, Ayrton Senna and Michael Andretti being the race drivers.  When Andretti opted to return to CART racing, Mika was promoted to race driver and sensationally out qualified Senna in his first race with the team. 

It was with McLaren that Mika gained his first podium finish, 3rd in the Japanese GP.  In 1995 a serious accident during practice at the Australian Grand Prix brought him within inches of his life.  A tyre had deflated at high speed with the result of a hard impact into a tyre wall, severe head injuries and a coma.  However, he recovered and returned to racing, and won his first GP in 1997, which was the European Grand Prix of that year.

 

Karting History

Year

Position

Championship

1978

1st

Keimola Regional Karting Championship

1979

1st

Regional Karting Championship

1980

4th

Lapland Karting Championship

1981

1st

Finnish Karting Championship (F Miniseries)

1982

1st
2nd

Ronnie Peterson Memorial Championship
Finnish Karting Championship (F-miniseries)

1983

1st

Finnish Karting Championship (FN series)

1984

1st

Finnish Karting Championship (FA series)

1985

1st

Finnish Karting Championship (FA series)

1986

1st

Finnish Karting Championship (FA series)

 

Single Seater History

Year

Position

Championship

1987

1st
1st
1st

Finnish Formula Ford 1600 Championship
Swedish Formula Ford 1600 Championship
Nordic Formula Ford 1600 Championship

1988

1st
2nd

Opel Lotus Euroseries Championship
British GM Euroseries

1989

7th

British Formula 3  Championship

1990

1st

British Formula 3 Championship

 

Formula One History

Year

Position

Championship

1991

15th

Formula One World Championship

1992

8th

Formula One World Championship

1993

15th

Formula One World Championship

1995

7th

Formula One World Championship

1996

6th

Formula One World Championship

1997

6th

Formula One World Championship

1998

1st

Formula One World Championship

1999
1st
Formula One World Championship


 

Mika Hakkinen Helmet
Mika Hakkinen
Note Mika's distinctive helmet design.

Photo courtesy of Passing Shots



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